Discovering Albion – day 8: The church on the cliff

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

scotland trip jan 15 158The Church of St Mary the Virgin sits high on its cliff above the town. It was founded around 1110AD, during the time of Abbot William de Percy and the exterior reflects the 12th century architecture in golden sandstone. The interior, though dates mainly from the 1700s and is a strange a place as you will see. Historically, it is an important survival. Aesthetically it is a claustrophobic jumble.

scotland trip jan 15 172It is difficult to make sense of the space. High sided 18th century box pews, like cattle pens… some marked ‘for strangers only’ fill the main body of the church while upstairs galleries look down. The ‘walls’ of the box pews are so tall that I, for one, could not see into them from the aisles between without making an effort to do so. Some are plain wood, others lined with green baize and others still bear red velvet cushions. A…

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